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J Complement Integr Med. 2013 May 7;10. pii: /j/jcim.2013.10.issue-1/jcim-2012-0015/jcim-2012-0015.xml. doi: 10.1515/jcim-2012-0015.

Phytochemical screening and toxicity studies on the methanol extract of the seeds of moringa oleifera.

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Department of Veterinary Physiology, Biochemistry and Pharmacology, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria.


The seeds of Moringa oleifera were collected, air-dried, pulverized, and subjected to cold extraction with methanol. The methanol extract was screened phytochemically for its chemical components and used for acute and sub-acute toxicity studies in rats. The phytochemical screening revealed the presence of saponins, tannins, terpenes, alkaloids, flavonoids, carbohydrates, and cardiac glycosides but the absence of anthraquinones. Although signs of acute toxicity were observed at a dose of 4,000 mg kg-1 in the acute toxicity test, and mortality was recorded at 5,000 mg kg-1, no adverse effect was observed at concentrations lower than 3,000 mg kg-1. The median lethal dose of the extract in rat was 3,873 mg kg-1. Sub-acute administration of the seed extract caused significant (p<0.05) increase in the levels of alanine and aspartate transferases (ALT and AST), and significant (p<0.05) decrease in weight of experimental rats, at 1,600 mg kg-1. The study concludes that the extract of seeds of M. oleifera is safe both for medicinal and nutritional uses.

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